Salmon start their life in freshwater and smoltify after about a year, when they begin the process of adapting to salt water. Consequently, traditional salmon rearing processes require salmon to be moved into a marine environment once they have reached smolt stage. This saltwater stage places salmon at an increased risk from viruses, parasites and predators. Bakkafrost Scotland has roughly halved the time needed to be spent in a marine environment using Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology, simultaneously improving the efficiency of the salmon production process and animal welfare.
RAS technology is an enclosed, indoor, freshwater aquaculture system which creates a bio-secure manufacturing environment for optimised salmon rearing conditions from egg to smolt. A biological filter process removes fish waste and treats the water, enabling 99% of the water to be recirculated and retained in the system. This new facility will allow the salmon to be reared to a larger size in freshwater tanks before they are released into enclosures in the sea.
The end goal is to have the site powered entirely by sustainable energy sources, a 90% reduction in water usage, and a 96% reduction in waste by drying waste matter. The company has already partnered with two local hydropower providers, and the finished facility will be installed with solar panels throughout which will cover the energy requirements for the site.
By bringing together RAS technologies with sustainable energy sources, reusing and recycling materials where possible, this will be the world’s first sustainable smolt production facility.